Flashpoint California Embers April

Trouble is not over in California yet…

Wed April 4 2072

And so it begins. A major convoy of nearly 10,000 people flowed into Barstow, California Free state. Coming across the Mojave River Bridge, crossing the crystal blue waters of that now year-round river, the refugees were tired, hot and thirsty. Remarkably orderly and well behaved, those first refugees were what one might call early adopters. Those who took the offers given them. Rumors spread rapidly about great wealth in gems and jewels, mineral wealth given in exchange for peaceful departure.

Criminal syndicates up and down the west coast are thusly turning their eyes to Barstow…

Thu April 5 2072

Violence in Barstow! The roar of Harley Davidson engines shook the night as 'Anarchies Heirs' arrive in Hinkley, CFS. Just outside of Barstow, this former ghost-town has been revitalized and restored to great effect in the past month. It's also where a vast trailer-city is set up as the refugees are being processed and assisted. Just hours after arriving, the Heirs were involved in several acts of violence against the refugees - murdering two families of metahuman refugees and stealing an unknown quantity of valuables from the families before setting their trailers alight.

The Mojave was one of the last places in California a metahuman could live mostly unmolested. And now there is a highly concentrated population. With money. And very little defense. Calls for support have been made to the Cal-Free government, but so far, Colonel Michael Minton of Bakersfield has not allocated any troops or support. The California Rangers under Sulu have dispatched several of their finest officers, but that alone won't stop the violence. Word is… the rangers are hiring.

Thu April 5 2072

Word comes back to Denver - a Japanese supply convoy headed to the Ute Nation via the I-80 corridor through the Sierra Nevada's was ambushed by a pair of runners. Smart. Savvy. Quick and deadly, the runners caused just enough confusion to liberate a bit of equipment, then withdraw before reinforcements could arrive. Some say that Tonka and Lucky pulled off the heist, and people talk about the tactics of it in the Rag Doll for several days. "No man, they had to hit them near the Truckee bypass, It's the only place that makes sense! Any closer and the aircover from Sactown would getem!"

(+50 Prestige, Air and Laz, for staff sponsored plot!)

Fri April 6 2072

Meanwhile… north of Barstow, Deadeye Bill, California Ranger, has a bit of a problem. He's rigged into his Ford F-1050 Pickup truck.. you know, the kind with the mudflaps, smokestacks like a big rig and the grill that could catch a cow, grind it to hamburger, grill it on the engine block and then serve it with fries? Yeah. That truck. But he's got a problem. Down in the valley, there's a tanker truck and it's sucking up water out of the goddamn Mojave River. And the truck's got the markings of the Bakersfield Cal-Guard. Minton's boys. Zooming in his sensors, Bill spots the two Imperial Marines with the Cal-Guard.

"Son of a Biiiiiiiiiiiiiiiitch." drawls Bill, narrowing his eyes. "Shit just got more complex. Patch me through to Sulu."

"Sorry, Bill." Says Sweetwater Jane, crotchety female voice of the drone brain of the truck. "I can't get an outside line. There's too much interference.

"Fraggen Japs. And Fraggen Minton. What's his angle?"


"Cute. Shaddup and configure for combat."

"Affirmative, Bill."

With that, the powerful Caterpillar engine powering Sweetwater Jane comes to full strength and the truck, with it's armor plating and state-approved missile racks, comes charging down the side of the wash. Playing across his loudspeakers, is 'California Dreaming', the 2034 remake by Dead On Awakening.

"Yeaaaaaaaaaaah HAW! LIGHT EM UP, JANIE!"

Deadeye Bill and Sweetwater Jane are never seen again. What is found, about 3 days later, is the crashed micro-drone that launched on the destruction of the truck. High Quality images show up on NewsNet, showing the Imperial Marines working with the southern Cal-Guard. And it lights up the California Resistance like nothing else. There is fury flying across the trix, with resistance groups in utter conniptions. There will be blood. Collaboration is word thrown around, along with treason and 'lynching'.

Sometimes, hard choices have to be made. Word filters out that down in Barstow, faced with a supply shortage and needing a truck, Sandman went hard core on someone. Theres a man with a broken nose in a parking lot crying because he's just been robbed of his every worldly possession.

Sun April 8 2072

Baal DaSaed. His name didn't exactly ring many bells in Denver. A new runner to the game, just making his way in. Went to Barstow for a job that seemed like a cake walk. Find a missing girl. A few bad choices later, the mage tried to cast in the mojave. It didn't go as planned, and he cast again. A final bad choice was made as he tried to intimidate the wrong man - and the man, intimidated, shot him. Bleeding out in the Mojave is no way to go out.

Dead: DaSaed.

Tues April 10 2072

In the city of Bakersfield… Colonel Michael Minton of the California Guard, regional commander of the Cal-Free forces in the southern central valley and Mojave is seated behind his desk, sipping brandy. "Look, Jace. It's not that I'm working with the Japanese. It's that I'm preserving /my/ people. What's your old man done for us since the invasion? He's simply not recognizing the truth of things. We're being carved up, and either we carve out whats ours, or we're on someone elses plate."

"It's an interesting perspective." Says Jace. "Do you really think that? That we have no hope, man? Is that really your bottom line?"

The older colonel sits forward, watching Jace. "Yeah. I think it's the damn truth."

"I'm sorry to hear that." Says Jace, shaking his head. He reaches up to touch his brow, two fingers stroking along a scar there.

There is no sound - other than a slight tinkle of glass, then the thud of a small bullet hole appearing in Minton's forehead.

"Damn sorry to hear that." From a half a click out, Jace's sniper starts to pack up his rig while his spotter polices the brass.

"Sampson." Calls Jace over the radio. "We on target for IED?"

"Yep. Down on Bakersfield and Farmington. It's all set."

"Barker. Get the body, throw it in the truck. Roll out."

"Affirmative, sir." Comes Barker's voice.

Less than 5 minutes later, Colonel Jace Gill, Cal-Free special forces, has loaded Michael Minton's body in to the Humvee and the truck is headed off down the road with a no-name PFC as the driver. It will be three minutes beyond when the Humvee will find an IED imbedded in the road - detonated by remote. Perfectly placed, it destroys the lightly armored vehicle with a single blast. If not for advanced DNA and forensics, they might never have been able to confirm that Michael Minton had been in the vehicle. Certainly, only a few people whisper about the cranial damage. But those people do find their way to Shadowland.

In the media, it's GOLDRUSH! that takes credit for the kill. A screed decrying collaborators and holding him accountable for the crimes of his men. Across southern California things start to unravel, as the tenuous lines of loyalty that Minton maintained all fray and snap. What had been a marginally professional force disintegrates into localized militias.

Wed April 11 2072

In Southern California…

The death of Minton to a GOLDRUSH! terrorist attack has fractured the tenuous control that the California Free State's central government could exercise on that isolated region. Cut in half by the Japanese, Cal-Free has operated essentially two allied states for nearly a decade.

With the death of Minton, three distinct powerblocks are rising. To the west, in Vandenberg, is the former smuggler-turned-resistance-fighter Mary McDonnel. Her Tbirds jam the coastline, running supplies and keeping Japanese Shipping wary of running without defense. To the south, China Lake's native California Ranger Sarah Raynor, her small cadre of desert Rangers working as an elite force, while in BakersField, it looks like there's a fire fight underway for succession of the main military detachment.

Order is breaking down and towns are splintering off - forming their own militias… and many are hiring runners and mercenaries to bolster their forces. Primary among them are Atescadero and Bakersfield, which each fear a renewed Japanese push.

Wed April 11 2072

Ehrenberg, CA/PCC/Ute - Sherrif Jesse Dawson has always had a problem with smugglers. Ehrenberg sits on the border of three nations, and in such a situation, it becomes an ideal spot for smugglers to gather and get people to any of the three destinations. The current situations in the Mojave and CalFree have only magnified things by a factor of ten, and the Sheriff has had to respond. Every week now the Sheriff has an auction of vehicles seized trying to smuggle refugees out of Calfree, and by the next week, many of those same vehicles find their way back into the auction, having been caught again full of refugees. Another month like this, and Sheriff Dawson and his entire department will have enough money to retire someplace tropical.

Wed April 11 2072

Meanwhile… in Bakersfield.

Longtips sits in a cafe with Brock Seavers. "Took you long enough to catch up to me." Says the fixer, over his chai latte.

"You move fast." Shrugs the big former Navy Seal. "Vacations over. Need to get you back to Denver."

"I have things I have to do."

"I don't much care about that."

"A million Nuyen says you do. I could either give you that nuyen, or I could pay it to the team I have on standby to extract me from my extractors. It's a choice you get to make."

In Brock's ears, he hears Davis' growl. "Sir, this is a setup. Got a sniper on the tower a half click east, perfect draw down. Drone in the air two clicks up. I smell magic around. Not sure where."

Brock smiles at Longtips. "Well. How about we give you a week… and then we talk again?"

"Sounds' lovely." Says Longtips, standing to leave. "I suggest you sit there, enjoy your coffee, and not move for a half hour or so."

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